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tv   9 News Now Tonight  CBS  January 27, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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good evening, tonight in your only local news at 7:00, in the dark, hundreds of thousands in our area are still without power after yesterday's winter storm. and abandoned ship, drivers are close to 100 cars on george washington parkway, after getting stuck in the snow.
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and pointing fingers. many of those stuck in last night's gridlock are placing some of the blame on the government. >> reporter: i'm bruce leshan in southwest dc. who is to blame for this? a lot of federal workers have within office in mind. the office of personnel management told the 300,000 federal workers that they could leave two hours early, but if you work until 5:30, that left you headed right into the worst of the storm. >> what that did is guarantee an army of dangers. >> the federal workers come in at all different times and the two-hour dismissal was designed to get them out in staggering waves. >> i don't have the authority to mandate evacuations. >> it's only five and half hours. >> it will always be like that. >> reporter: i'm peggy fox along the gw parkway where nearly a hundred cars were abandoned last night.
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it's the scene of what may have been the worse commute in the area. he never made it home last night. he couldn't get the car off the hill on the gw parkway. decided to leave it on the side of the road and to walk to a friend's house. >> i called my work this morning and said, you know, i have not gotten home yet. >> reporter: others had no choice, but to abandon their cars in the road. today, they picked up around 100 abandoned cars on the gw parkway. >> i said i have no gas, i might as well turn it off and keep on walking. >> reporter: a good samaritan gave them a ride home to the hotel. and federal factors combined to create the perfect storm for a heck of a commute everywhere. fast and heavy snow sent cars flipping and blocking roads. buses even got stuck. trees and limbs came down, creating obstacles. then with so many commuters stuck on the road, many ran out of gas. a lot of people are here without power, but in places where the power is on, there
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were also some very dangerous situations. i met ed jenkins living here thinking about doing an interview with the wires being torn out. and how about this for a surprise? yes, the electricity is on. >> well that tells me there is still electricity running through the wire here. >> you got it. >> i'm a little worried about that. >> well, i am too. >> reporter: mr. jenkins has called the fire department, pepco, verizon, everyone he could think of. the tape was put here by firefighters, but they left. after that, nothing. >> i have not heard back from them. i have not heard a word about what is happening over here. >> reporter: meanwhile, the power crews are busy throughout the area, trying to restore power as soon as possible. >> the situation is no different for dominion. the main provider that has almost 200,000 customers at the height of the storm. today, crews began the process of restoring their power back. and the heavy wet snow toppled
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trees, bringing down power lines. they warn that it might be days before the power is back on for everybody. >> and for today, we do expect it to go beyond today. and now, before the power is restored. >> reporter: this afternoon, dominion, virginia said they hope to restore power to 90% of the customers by tomorrow. the utility has pulled crews from other parts of virginia and north carolina to help with the work. let's get a check of the latest outage numbers across our area. they still have more than 145,000 customers without power. dominion, virginia, is reporting over 39,000 outages at this point. now, they have almost 13,000 customers in the dark in montgomery and prince george's county. they have 2,500 outages in maryland. they might help out with some of the staggering power lines or repairs. are we in for a refreeze tonight?
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topper shutt is on the weather terrace with the answers. >> reporter: i'll tell you what, right now, temperatures are around freezing right here in the northwest. and they are already below freezing. let's show you the temperatures. we'll start with that and a very loud helicopter going directly overhead. 33 right now. 28 in gaithersburg, and 28 in manassas. and 31 up here in hagerstown. lows tonight in the mid-20s. in the burbs to around 30 downtown. that means refreezing and that means, you know, some problems. take it easy tomorrow. and be aware of the black ice as possible, the roads may look wet, but it's frozen, it's black ice. and slow down if you will. we'll come back and talk about a clipper because you can see more snow tomorrow. >> okay, topper. and one man lost his life in last night's heavy snow when a tree fell on his car. the 41-year-old, hernandez, was traveling in a pickup truck on military road last night when a tree uprooted and flattened the vehicle. four other people inside the truck survived the crash. >> we're told the first responders were on the scene
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immediately. >> yeah. >> trying to get around people, trying to get there. you know, the fire and the rescue. >> >> whenever there is a lot of ice, snow, rain, there is always something happening down in there because of all the trees. >> reporter: throughout that area, the icy snow was still clinging to powerlines and trees this afternoon. and the weight of the snow has knocked down limbs on some of the oldest trees in the neighborhood. the snow ended before midnight last night. and that did help with the clean up. crews had a chance to clear most roads before this morning's rush hour. and now local officials, they are looking back at what went right and wrong in their strategy to deal with this storm. >> one of the things we're dealing with, typically in the aftermath of these is to debrief it and look at areas where things might have done better and grew upon those in the future. >> now, when the governor
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called yesterday's conditions, "nightmarish, he said it was impossible to pretreat the roads because of the rain that fell because of the snow moving in. >> drivers with a welcome to push from the raven's offensive line. many people, they abandoned their cars all along i-83, after sitting for several hours, going nowhere, walking, just seems to be the only thing to do. and today, folks, they were reuniting with their cars at impound lots. you have all been telling us about how bad your commute was on our facebook page. here is an example. i left work, 3:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon and got home around midnight. i passed at least 50 abandoned vehicles between these areas. and it was definitely a nightmare of a parking lot. i'm home, thank god. over 12 hours of a commute that should have taken 30 minutes. average .1 miles per hour for many of the hours. broken down, stuck, abandoned
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cars, everywhere. paying somebody $60 for three gallons of gas to not run out. you can share your story with us as well on our facebook page. let's get a check of tonight's rush hour. a whole different deal. let's hope so. >> well, as a matter of fact, they are much calmer than they were yesterday. it looks like they are quite white for the afternoon. a lot of people stayed home from work. and still one of the negative factors, we still have a lot of abandoned vehicles on the side of the road ways and the ramps and bridges and maces like that. use caution. and also with the refreezing tonight, conditions will be icy on those side streets and ramps. that's another factor. i-270 right now, no problem, really around these roads. pretty much a light to moderate area in both directions there. traffic flows with no problem. pretty much the same story in virginia. on the main side there, i-395, also at the 14th street bridge, going into or out of the district. they were there, but again,
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look out for the black a ice later on tonight. >> okay, good warning. thank you, richard. virginia is one of the hardest hit areas in the snow, still causing problems tonight. we're going to take you to fairfax and arlington counties coming up. but up next, new legislation in the commonwealth, that may finally close the gun show loophole for the proposed bill preventing another mass shooting like the one at virginia tech.
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once again, they are able to use it without boiling first. putting a part of the county under the boil-water advisory and the giant water main break on monday. they were worried about contamination in the system, but they have now come back clean. now to virginia where people who lost loved ones in the mass shooting at virginia tech, they are calling on the
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state lawmakers to close what they consider a gun show loophole. introducing bills that do exactly that. under their proposals, private unlicensed gun show venders would have to conduct simple background checks just like licensed dealers do now. and what good is the background check system? and all those records that virginia submits. when a prohibited person could just bypass the background check system and get their weapons at a gun show. >> opponents, they argue that the private gun sale should be protected from the government interference. and the federal government appointed a panel looking into our country's economic crisis, that now says the big crash of 2008 could have been avoided. that was the financial crisis inquiry commission report that came out today. and the panel says that a lot of people, they share the blame. >> in our financial system, they ignore warnings and
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importantly failed to question to understand and to manage the involving risk in a financial system that is so essential to the well being of our country. and there is a big side. not a stumble. >> the commission places a blame on the crash on both the bush and clinton administration as well as the current and former federal chairman. coming up on 9news now, how much more snow is coming our way tomorrow. topper tells us in his forecast. and up next, tons of cars towed away after drivers abandoned them. how to get yours back if you had to ditch it during your -- if you had to ditch it during your drive home.
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after dropping 5 to 10 inches in the dc area, the winter storm hit the northeast. the sixth winter storm in as many weeks. and dubbed 19" in the big  apple. the wet heavy snow caused the roof of the parking garage to literally collapse, trapping two men in their car. rescue crews were able to dig them out and both are recovering in the hospital. >> and we are real lucky to be here today and to be alive. this storm is added to an already brutal winter for the region. new york typically gets 21 inches of snow in a year. so far in 2011, 55" have fallen. boston averages about 40". this season, more than five feet. and hartford, connecticut has broken a record for snowfall set back in 1945. and now last night, a lot of people, they decided to
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abandon their cars during the height of the storm, which is the height of the evening rush. and today, state and local authorities, they started clearing them off the roadway. if yours is towed, here is how to get it back. in maryland, they are arranging for the removal of the cars on interstates and the state highways. you'll need to call the state police there in the county, where you have abandoned your car. if you abandon your car and it was not on the state road, then you should call the emergency communications center. if your car was towed away in the district, the number 202- 541-6038 and be ready to give them your license tag number. in virginia, cars left on the gw parkway, a lot of them, they were towed to the phoenix overlook on the northbound side. if yours was towed from the interstate or the ramp, call the virginia state police fairfax division, with your license plate number. if you abandon your cars on the local or the side road, each county has the specific number to call. a lot of information here. we have it all on our website for you as well.
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wusa9.com. from abandoned cars to power outages. northern virginia experienced it all in the past 24 hours. lindsey mastis drove around arlington and fairfax county. >> reporter: when this white suv tried to obey the law and stop at the intersection of fairfax county with the lights out, he just got honked at repeatedly. ridiculous, right? >> well, it's pretty tough. >> reporter: meanwhile, the guys trying to restore power are running into obstacles, like the abandoned cars. >> y it was frozen, and everyone just stopped. so it is kind of hard to maneuver, but we'll get through it. >> reporter: he says that people, they just need to be patient. >> are you guys almost finished? >> yeah. >> reporter: chris reilly lives in fairfax county and he is hoping the electric is back on soon for his children's sake. >> nap time. >> reporter: she wants to watch her dora. >> there is no dora on tv. >> yes, no dora on tv.
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she has dora withdrawal. >> reporter: he is trying to stay warm and talkative. >> so i think that it is ready. which i moved out into the snow because of my refrigerator. >> reporter: meanwhile, the 15- year-old, nora and her sister, the 13-year-old, they trying to make some cold hard cash, shoveling the snow. >> we just charge whatever they are giving us. so you know, sometimes it is hot chocolate, sometimes it is money. and it's whatever. >> yeah, whatever. just helping the people o. >> reporter: they have been averaging $15 an hour. maybe they will make enough to buy a snow blower. in northern virginia, i'm lindsey mastis, 9news now. >> by the way, chris reilly, they really need dora and they are happy to have the power finally back on. >> and so really, a wet heavy snow. >> yeah. >> and you know, that's responsible. actually very hard to drive. they had to see a powdery snow that's much better. certainly for the power
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outages, it would have been much better. we'll talk about that with a little bit of the snow tomorrow night. don't panic, okay? >> yes, they started to. >> i know that you will. and the flakes will be flying again. but we'll talk about the water equivalent. generally speaking an inch to the liquid. and it is 10" of snow. in the meantime, it snows, it's melted down. and you get the liquid equivalent. so a very dry snow. about an inch and a third. and they yielded at 15" of snow. yesterday's storm, they had over an inch and a half. but they yielded only five inches of snow. and that's how high the moisture content was. that's why every flake stuck on everything. and you know, they brought down trees, limbs, therefore powerlines. all right, right now, 28 in gaithersburg. 33 downtown. we're not quite below freezing. but close to 28 in manassas and 32 down on i-95 in fredericksburg. we have clippers on the way. clippers on friday, clippers on saturday. bigger storm is possible on tuesday and wednesday. and we'll keep walking on this,
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but check your wiper fluid, the windchill, you know, 15 times. satellite picture today, we'll zoom in a little bit with clipper number one there. and we have clipper number two back there. now, this is saturday's clipper. this will take more of a northerly track. constantly most of the snow will be staying north of the maryland border. this is a healthy clipper that looks like it will be throwing light snow our way. essentially, dc, i-66 and route 50 north. you probably won't be seeing fig had south of town, but you will be seeing maybe an inch, less than an inch north of town. all right, we'll kind of put this into motion. 11:30 in the morning, no problem. you'll get through the commute and only you need to worry about with the commute is the black ice. but by 5:00, we could see half an inch here and there in manassas, dc, maybe a tenth of an inch up in gaithersburg. as you go through saturday, watch the top part of your screen, watch the snow get close to us. that's the second clipper. that should stay to our north. all right, for tonight, mostly
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cloudy, cold, freezing. 24 to 30. lows tonight in the upper 20s in gaithersburg and rockville, and bowie. the mid-20s if you go far enough out to leesburg. 25 and 25 in manassas. now, tomorrow morning, mostly cloudy cold, a little light snow is possible late. some slick spots are early because of the temperatures. 24 to 34. and then by the afternoon, early flurry or light snow is possible. again, an inch or less. less than an inch really. highs near 40. not to worry when they are near 40. 40 in arlington, 39 in dc. not a problem. all right, next three days, we'll keep a flake in on saturday, but again most of the snow will be going north of us. catch your breath on sunday, 42. next seven days, not a bad day on monday either. low 40s, that's average. it's colder on tuesday and wednesday and a storm, looks like it's going to develop as we get into tuesday and wednesday. it could be snow on tuesday and you could go to a mix on wednesday. and depending on the track of the storm. then we're looking at temperatures back in the mid-
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30s on thursday. so you know, we'll keep you posted on that. but the clippers don't work. >> sure. >> i'm sure. >> okay. >> well, so many of us were frustrated, angry, stressed out. all of that getting home tomorrow, a group of people at dupont circle found a way to enjoy the snow. yes, a megasnowball fight. and that is part here to the social networking sites like facebook and metro mix. putting the word out for the wintery event. as you can see, dozens of people showed up. others who were walking by, they decided to join in. z you may remember that that is a scene of the huge snowball fight during last year's blizzard where people had nowhere to drive and nowhere to go so they had some fun. >> well, that is very true. we want to hear what you think. send your e-mails to mailbag@wusa9.com. 9news now will be right back.
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as all you parents out there know, all the areas were closed. welcoming news for the kids who got a chance to stay home from school and have fun in the snow as dave owens reports, kids and their parents made the most of the snow day. >> reporter: gloom and doom for the adults. >> the real problem is that we don't have any power. >> reporter: this street needed a little artificial help. to make dues, not so much here though. yesterday's snow gave these kids a day off from school and a day on the hills. >> egos wanted -- we just
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wanted to have fun. >> are you having a good time? >> yeah. >> reporter: the slightly bigger ones, full contact. >> we love to hit each other. >> reporter: remember the days when all kids had was a piece of card board to slide down the hill? not anymore. rubber tubes, snow boards. something that they call an egg, a ski, a sipfy -- zipfy. >> that's okay. these kids were more interested in this anyway. air. >> if you hit the big jump, it could be pretty dangerous. >> oh really? >> you know what, i did this when i was 8, now i'm 38. i don't think that this is going to end well. let's go. >> reporter: well, you get the picture. this parent was not interested in that. she was just trying to get out of her house, which has not had heat for nearly 24 hours. >> when i come out, i'll have some fun outside because it's not much fun inside. >> reporter: well, there was
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plenty of fun here. dave owens, 9news now. >> thank you, dave. well, i can already hear the cheers at my house. the kids in montgomery county will get to have one more day of fun in the snow. we just found out that montgomery county schools will be closed again tomorrow. okay, that's our report. i'll be right back here with you tonight at 11:00. don't forget, you can find us any time on wusa9.com. i'm anita brikman. we'll see you later. ♪ ♪ don't stop what you do ♪ i won't stop loving you ♪ because i love the things you do ♪ ♪ whatever you do, don't stop [ female announcer ] the laughing cow cheese. rich, creamy decadence, but with only 35 calories a wedge, feel free to laugh all you want. ♪ whatever you do, don't stop [ female announcer ] the laughing cow. have you laughed today? now, three delicious new flavors to love. ♪ ♪ don't stop
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